“We are united in delivering one message. State leaders must fund our future. They must invest in neighborhood public schools, invest in the success of our students, and invest in the teachers and staff who work in our schools.” — Fedrick C. Ingram, President of the Florida Education Association
The 2019 legislative session has begun. It’s time we all take action! We all have a role to play to ensure our elected officials listen to us and invest in our community’s schools.
Our students need you. You can be part of the growing movement to support our neighborhood public schools. We can’t just hope the people we elect will do enough. We must use our voices to advocate for change, participate in policy making and holding elected officials accountable.
Please contact your legislator TODAY and ask them to increase funding for our neighborhood public schools:
- Florida’s per-pupil expenditures are almost $3,000 below the national average. Florida’s students deserve better—at a bare minimum they should be funded at least at the US average.
- It is important not only that Florida fund its public schools by increasing per pupil funding, but it must stop the practice of stripping away local control of how those dollars are spent. Each district has unique needs for their school community and knows how best to address those needs. Increasing the base student allocation is the best way to ensure those local needs can be met.
- Along these lines, Florida needs to increase funding for higher education institutions to keep up with demand and fund actual enrollment.
- Florida teachers’ and education staff professional salaries are shamefully low; in fact Florida consistently ranks in the bottom ten states for teacher pay. Adjusted for inflation, instructional salaries were almost $7,000 less for the 2017-18 school year than they were in 2003-04. At the same time, housing costs, student debt, and healthcare costs have skyrocketed. To make ends meet many educators have to work two or even three jobs.
- Meanwhile, the Florida legislature has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus money that is dependent on test scores and arbitrary evaluation measures. In order to have the teaching force our students deserve, the legislature must stop playing games with bonuses and ensure funding to increase educator pay to top ten in the nation instead of bottom ten.
- This is not just a PreK-12 problem either; inconsistent funding based on flawed metrics for our colleges and universities stifle their ability to engage in long-term planning. Again, sufficient funding should be the expectation, not the result of a bonus which varies widely from year to year.